This weekend is my church’s annual all-church retreat, and I have been looking forward to it since missing last year’s.
It’s super chill and a great way to catch up with people I don’t normally get to see because of our busy, busy lives. My plan is to do nothing even though I have been specifically invited to one workshop.
I mean, I did sign up to host a workshop, but I tried to make it as low-key as possible. (I’m hosting a game hour. Bring your games, sit at tables, play. Simple.)
Here’s to hoping I get all my grading done before I go since work is strictly verboten. I have declared it so.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for S.
Okay, so I already posted about this on Facebook, but it fits perfectly with the letter for today, so I’m going for it again.
I got to use a transparency today for the first time in years! YEARS, I tell you.
See, we have doc cams in almost every classroom here, which makes transparencies unnecessary and obsolete. But the classroom I was teaching in today doesn’t, and I needed to go over a student draft. What was I to do? AND THEN I REMEMBERED.
I got to use the bypass tray on the copier and everything.
Also, my transparency marker still worked. It was awesome.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for R.
I met with two of my classes for the last time today.
In the first class (creative writing), I had more than one student tell me that they enjoyed the class. Creative writing is a fun class, right? So I think the bar was set pretty low. But then! A student tells me that she loved the class and she wants to be a professor and I am her favorite teacher and just cemented her desire to become a professor.
Then, on my way to my last class of the day, I ran into a former student. And he told me he had just this week looked back at the blog he created for the class. “I put so much work into your class, and I don’t even like English. I want to thank you.”
And then in my last class, one of my students said, “I would get so mad at you for being so picky about the missed periods and stuff in MLA, but now I pay more attention when I proofread to make sure I haven’t missed anything.”
So, yes, I teach my students and sometimes they learn things. And sometimes I even get a chance to find out about it.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for Q.
Item #1: New Bloggers
Three out of my five classes did their blog wrap-ups today, and at least a handful said that they were going to keep blogging. Some said they had always wanted/meant to start a blog. One even said she thought you had to be interesting to blog but now she knows better. (And no, she didn’t read my blog to come to that conclusion. 😂) And another student is excited class is over so she can focus her blog on her favorite interest–something she’s always wanted to do.
So, basically, blogging in class gave some of my students the confidence to start their own blogs because they got to play around with the platform in a safe space with a safe audience.
Item #2: New Readers
Forcing my students to read (at least for those three classes) was a success. Almost all of them said they were glad to do it since it got them to read books they always meant to read but hadn’t gotten a chance to. Or they were glad (for 1102) that we read off the banned books list because it introduced them to books they may not have read otherwise.
I told two students about the Serial Reader app and they downloaded it. Oh, and one student told me he was going to keep reading to which I said “Yay!” but he quickly said, “NOT THAT MUCH.” Students: they giveth and taketh away.
Okay, but here is the best comment a student made: Reading off the banned books list made it easier for her to do her reading for other classes, including the textbooks.
READING FOR THE WIN. ALWAYS.
Item #3: Blogging Book Reviews
Forcing them to write reviews on their blog was also a success, especially for my creative writing students. They really did think more critically about the books they were reading when they had to explain why they liked them or not. One student said that the only reviews he ever read were from old people (professional book reviewers) and this was the first time he’d read reviews from his peers, which he really appreciated since people from his age group bring a different perspective. Another student said he never talked about the books he read before and was glad he got a chance to share his reading with people.
My favorite, though, is that one of my students has already positioned herself as a book blogger. Her about page says that she is accepting ARCs. 😍
So, yes. I wasn’t planning for this to be a reflection on using blogging in my classes. I just wanted to point out that some of my students are excited about blogging, which is great, and that most of them are now reading, which of course makes me the happiest.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for O.
So yeah. When I’m in that mode, everything gets super overwhelming, and I can’t focus on anything. It’s just all too much! And when it’s all too much, there’s only one thing that helps me.
Making a to-do list.
Two weeks ago, I lost my black sweater.
Correction: I lost my cute black sweater.
I was pretty sure I left it at the library, so I called and asked if someone had turned it in. The answer was no.
So, for the past two weeks, I have been wearing my ill-fitting black sweater that is slightly ashy and that I do not like very much at all. But, you know, it gets cold in buildings and stuff, and I need a sweater.
I have been making due.
Today, I went to the library to get some work done and decided to ask about my sweater again. AND IT WAS THERE. And now I just have to wash it, and I no longer have to wear my (slightly) busted sweater.
Also, obviously, this L could also stand for the library, which is also pretty neat-o.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for M.
So my friend Jasmine got mad at me yesterday because she wasn’t my J. Even though I said in the beginning that I wasn’t going to do family or friends because I felt that was too easy.
However, I felt it imperative to do a post that, you know, kind of features my family and friends–especially after my daughter blew out the tire on the car yesterday.
So, yes, my daughter blew out the rear tire yesterday. The good news is that she was close to home (leaving the street). The better news is that we needed help changing the tire, so I called my dad who was available to come over. (The best news is that I didn’t cheap out on the warranty for my tires and it should be getting replaced for free. We shall see for sure tomorrow.)
My dad was the right person to call. Because, really, the tire thing needed to be fixed, but the more pressing issue was that my daughter needed a ride to an appointment. She wanted to call her friend, and I was like, “No. Call your grandfather.” And, of course, it worked out better than calling the friend because my dad scooped her, took her to her appointment on the other side of town, waited for her to finish her appointment, brought her home, and then taught both of us how to change the tire.
So that got me thinking about how important it is to not only have people to call but to know who to call. And that’s why I’m so grateful for all of my friends and family who provide me with so much support.
And, yes, Jasmine is one of those people.
But there are others who I can call and text for myriad reasons, some specific and some general. And I am truly blessed to have so many people in my corner.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for L.
As I collected my students’ papers today, some of them said they felt so much better about these papers compared to the ones they were getting back. Why? “I know I did better on this one. I can feel myself improving.”
Yes, I said. Good. That’s what it’s all about: seeing how you’ve improved from the beginning of the semester to now–even if you don’t get the grade you want.
They weren’t so sure about that grade part, but they did acknowledge that it felt good to see their progress.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for J.
My friend suggested I write about why I chose to use gratitude as my theme for the challenge. “Do a deeper dive,” she said, “and explain why it means so much to you.”
It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time focusing on what I didn’t have or how I wished my life were different. And because I was a student at the school of Oprah, I would suggest people do gratitude journals and such because she said they worked even though I didn’t really know why.
In the past few years, I have learned that gratitude is an important part of my life because, much like acceptance, it keeps me focused on the present and helps me to shift my thinking so that I see all that is good and right around me–even when it feels like everything is going wrong.
Gratitude as I practice it is, in short, keeping the focus on what I do have and what is going right in my life instead of focusing on what’s missing or wrong.
For example, one time I ran over the curb and blew my tire. This was not a good thing that happened. It was inconvenient, I don’t actually know how to change a tire, I knew it would cost money to repair/get a new tire, etc.
However, in that same day, I found a lot to be grateful for:
1. The blowout happened at the grocery store, which worked out perfectly because I had to pee so bad. Soooo bad. Like, I didn’t even care that much that the tire was blown out at first because I had to pee.
2. I bought what I needed from the grocery store and, as I was checking out, the cashier asked how my day was going, and I told her not great because of the blowout. I hadn’t even noticed, but standing in front of me at line were my friend and her husband. “Do you need help?” they asked.
3. My friend’s husband changed my tire. While he was working on it, a guy from a restaurant who ran to the store to get syrup saw my friend’s husband changing the tire and gave him some tool thing that made it easier. (Also, two or three other people asked if he/we needed help.)
4. I, of course, had no money to buy a new tire. I went to Sears and because I had such good credit, I was able to get a store card to put the tires on (all of my tires actually needed to be replaced). Not only were they having a special on the tires, but I was able to get them with 0% interest for 18-24 months.
Now, old me would have bitched about the fact that my tire blew and now I had this new bill. New me was able to see all of the good things that happened to me that day even while I was dealing with something that was a hassle.
Here is another, more personal, example of gratitude working in my life:
I hate Father’s Day. (I also hate Mother’s Day, but for different reasons, but that’s a discussion for a different time.) I mostly hate it because my (step)dad and I did not have the best relationship while I was growing up, and my biological father is an absentee deadbeat. There are other reasons for my dislike of it, but you get the gist.
One particular Father’s Day, I was feeling especially resentful and angry that the day existed. But I had learned to try gratitude as a countermeasure for those feelings. So rather than revel in my rightness at how I was done so wrong by these men, I got out pen and paper and started writing a list of all of the good things my (step)dad had done for me.
After I wrote the list, I felt so much better and I was so much less angry. In fact, I appreciated my dad and all that he had done for me. I acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, but he also wasn’t all terrible either.
In less than thirty minutes, my whole attitude had changed–and all because I practiced gratitude.
I wasn’t planning to do the A to Z Challenge this year. But ever since the election, things have been rough. The news has been terrible. It feels like the world is falling apart. Or at least that’s how it feels when I watch the news or I’m on Twitter. And that may be so. However, every day, all around me, small miracles are happening if I pay attention to them. And that’s why I chose gratitude as my theme for the challenge. Because I wanted to spend the month of April focusing on all that is good around me to counteract the large scale attention that all that is bad attracts.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in Monday to see what I pick for H.
Last summer, I applied to be an AP reader with ETS. While there is a main application, there are also follow-up bits and bobbles they occasionally ask you for. I found some of it tedious, and it felt like it was all for naught. But today I was invited to be an AP reader for English, and I am thrilled.
Even if I hadn’t gotten the job, I would have been glad I completed the process. Otherwise, I would have been constantly second-guessing whether I should have done it or not. And I would (and do) know what to expect for next time.
I also watched my friend defend her thesis today. Nothing says follow-through like completing the defense process. I’m so proud of her and so glad she invited me to be a part of her day.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for G.